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Tracking Digital Marketing Efforts

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In order to understand how effective your marketing is—and if you’re spending your marketing dollars wisely—you have to track results. But which metrics correlate most to successful marketing? Sales results like the number of new customers brought in or RO count and total revenue from marketing-originated customers help shed some light, but they still fall short in giving a shop operator the full picture, says Adam Kushner, especially when it comes to digital campaigns. 

Kushner, owner of industry marketing firm Business Actualization, has spent years working with mechanical and collision repair shops on their digital marketing campaigns. He explains two of the most important metrics to utilize to track marketing effectiveness.

As told to Anna Zeck

The top two key performance metrics that I look at are market qualified leads and sales qualified leads. A market qualified lead is a website visitor that is a good fit for a potential customer. We score these based on specific pages visited, count of pages, downloading offers/coupons, submitting forms to provide us with information we can use to understand the customer’s persona. A market qualified lead would be somebody who meets the requirements of being a potential customer and has begun to interact with our company. Through any marketing platform, you can look at how many pages on our website a visitor is looking at, which pages they’re looking at, what buttons they’re clicking.

A sales qualified lead is a contact/ person that we have the ability to sell to and/or has expressed their intent to buy. For example, they have scheduled service, or have brought their car into the shop.

The most common example for this is that someone puts a coupon on the website and you have to submit a form to get the coupon. That person is a market qualified lead. When they schedule service on the website, now they have become a sales qualified lead because now I have the ability to sell to them. For it to be a sales qualified lead, it has to be a customer who has taken the initiative to schedule service.

When we think about marketing, I think there’s a major disconnect between connecting marketing to sales. We’re not really making the connection to what’s going on inside of the shop by taking the results that we are creating with marketing and then creating results with sales. The traditional role of a salesperson is to wait for the phone to ring, wait for the customer to schedule an appointment or wait until they’re at the front counter. Then the sales process begins. Whereas the sales process really starts with every interaction the customer has with us and our marketing. If we can make that connection from the service advisor and transform their role from being an order taker to being a salesperson, and make that connection with marketing, that’s how businesses are going to be successful.

Once we start to track those, we can really gain a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of our marketing. For example, our conversion rate on the landing page for a Google AdWords campaign is an important metric but the outcomes of those are ultimately, how many market qualified leads do we have available and how many of those are sales qualified leads? Instead of waiting for someone to schedule service and become a sales qualified lead, how can we give a service advisor tools to interact with all of those market qualified leads?

We evaluate the number of market qualified leads that are considered successful on a per-client basis. I will Iook at their competitors and the population of the area and its demographics; we have to look at the reality of that situation. Maybe we’re not going to grow past 500–600 unique visitors per month. So now it becomes more about what we are going to do with the traffic that we are getting, and making sure it’s highquality traffic that we can convert.

That’s why market qualified and sales qualified leads are so important. You set a goal that’s individual for your shop, and by tracking those two types of leads, you can see how successful your marketing is in  generating real responses. And, it can also help you see where there are cracks occurring. If you have a high number of market qualified leads but they’re not scheduling service and turning into sales qualified leads, you would then have the ability to dig into that and find out why that is. If our unique website visitors convert into this many new customers, then we have to figure out which marketing input we need to turn up to reach our goal. So how are we going to get more visitors to the website? Or if our system is broken and we have 2,000 visitors to our website but none of them are converting into market/sales qualified leads then we have to look at the mechanics of what’s going on with the marketing and how we’re interacting with them. Just because someone comes on your website from a pay-per-click ad doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy, so we have to figure out how we’re going to maintain that conversation. 

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